The day after Thanksgiving has officially become our day to decorate for Christmas. I used to do it a week or two before Thanksgiving, but in recent years I've decided that I prefer to not run the two holidays together. They are both special and deserve their own proper attention. :>)
This year we decided to get a REAL tree! It has been many years since we've done this. In fact, none of the children have ever really got to experience a real tree. Brad and I always had one when we first married, but then came Whiskers. She was an inside cat, and one Christmas she discovered that she enjoyed climbing to the top of the tree and riding whatever ornament she could find on her way down. That tree turned over a few times, we lost a few ornaments, and it was pretty much a disaster. The next year we went with an artificial tree - because of the cat and also so I could put the tree up earlier. (That was when my holidays ran together.) We gave Whiskers to a friend when Madison was born, but we continued with the artificial tree until this year.
I love our tree. Brad picked it up at Wal-Mart (we used to do the tree farm thing, but this seemed more reasonable cost wise and time wise), and it is really a nice tree.
He brought it home Friday afternoon, and we enjoyed hot chocolate and a little Christmas music while we brought in the many boxes of ornaments, lights, and decorations and started decorating and trimming. The house always looks like a disaster while we're doing this, and it was Sunday evening before I got all the boxes stowed away in the garage, but it's all finished now. Everything looks nice, and I didn't go too crazy this year. I tried to keep things simple so that the putting away after Christmas won't be such a big deal.
NOTE: Speaking of animals leaving when a child is born, Major (our Bichon Frise) recently found a new home. Once Matthew arrived, it was evident that Major was not going to be getting the attention he needed. He was a good dog but had become sort of a burden. Pets shouldn't be burdens, so we all decided it would be best to find him a more suitable home. It appears that he ended up where he needed to be as I received an email update this morning from the family that adopted him, and it sounds like he is fitting in wonderfully. He also has a female friend his own age who is also a Bichon Frise, so I'm sure that makes for good company for him also (in case you're wondering, there won't be any puppies in their future). It does feel like a burden has been lifted, and we're much happier with him living somewhere else and knowing that he's being well taken care of.